REVIEW – Even the most amateurish person (you don’t have to go far to find it) would present passengers with a far more customer-friendly experience than the state-owned MÁV in Hungary, which continues to bash its chest for nothing while also achieving nothing, nearing state bankruptcy. That being said, Train Life: A Railway Simulator offers an unusual experience on consoles. There have been examples of railway simulators in Japan in the past (primarily PS1 ports), but this game has been released for all relevant consoles…
Steam’s synopsis follows: “For the first time in railroad simulation, play as both the driver and company director! Take the controls of your locomotives and grow your railway empire by negotiating deals and developing your network.”
Our newly acquired license has a productive tutorial outlining a practical exam. It will show you how to start a train or set up a few things. It’s going to be a long one, and one could question whether it’s not too long, but the answer is NO. In this case, the player must get to grips with everything before they are thrown into the deep end. Preparation and practice, in this case, are a must. We will have several jobs to earn money from, and these tasks can be used to upgrade our company, plus the funding coming in will also be spent on our train’s upkeep and maintenance costs. It will require a simple business model: maximum profit and minimum cost. Don’t waste too much petrol (which is slowly reducing to affordable, reasonable prices), and don’t pull the emergency brake when it’s not needed. It’s also worth paying attention to learn to stop. A train is not a one-and-a-half ton, four-and-a-half metre car. It’s a much larger size and weight, and the more carts you have attached to your train, the greater the braking distance you have to be prepared for.
In the worst-case scenario, the unwary player can run into another train ahead of them or stop not at the designated station but a kilometre away in the wilderness. However, to help your situation, it’s worth switching to the outside view. Yes, switch: it’s not the only camera position you get because there’s also an internal view, so you can take a closer look at the control surface (there are, as expected, more switches and levers). You can control the necessary things in both views, so you don’t have to keep switching back and forth. This approach is a plus: the player can have “control” over several mechanics, and those who are into this genre (there is another one, Train Sim World 3 perhaps, which also seems to have been released recently) might immediately enjoy the experience because that is basically what Train Life: A Railway Simulator can do. It may be one of those games where you just sit your feet on the table, sit back and glide from point A to point B. (Norwegian state television’s slow TV programming includes onboard cameras on trains.)
Train Life: A Railway Simulator was released for PC in late August, and the console version came out this week. It’s worth rearranging the basic button layout because it’s rather idiotic that on PlayStation 5, for example, you use the right trigger to throttle up and throttle down on the left trigger. The buttons above them do the opposite, with the left analogue lever to honk, the right to switch camera views (if you switch between them if not, vice versa… it’s worth trying and experimenting with the controller controls), and Circle to apply the emergency brake. What about the DualSense?
There’s haptic feedback, so you can sense as you glide along the track (and you can turn that off), but it doesn’t feel like the game uses adaptive triggers. So the overall effect is somewhat mixed. Apart from the controller misery, the gridded, matrix-like view on the windscreen in the interior camera angle feels weird or perhaps downright annoying. What’s the point of that? It has no use and is somewhat distracting. Playing on Xbox Series S is not recommended, where textures don’t always load. The PS5 visuals aren’t too bad, though, and the performance seems fair. It’s noticeable that the game is very Europe-centric. Perhaps the bugs haven’t improved much since the PC release (we read that the pilot’s head is in the way in the interior view… and that text is out of place here and there; that’s amateur, but on PS5, we might have been lucky not to notice them).
PC – 6.5, console – 6
The PC version is six and a half of ten, and the console version (especially on the 2020 hardware) is a six out of ten. The button layout and Xbox performance make the console port of Train Life: A Railway Simulator a little worse overall, and the matrix effect on the windshield can be very annoying. However, there are plenty of routes and no shortage of challenges, and you do have to be successful in the economic field. For these reasons, it is impossible to give Train Life a low rating. It can be safely recommended to fans of the genre, but in this case, perhaps avoid the PlayStation 4/Xbox One pair. You could do with better performance here. It’s a shame that there are a few more lines in the UK beyond Europe, and that’s it. In terms of content, hopefully, it will expand.
+ Cozy and soothing
+ It can be fun
+ Explains everything at the beginning
– What is this grid view on the windshield?
– The console button layout is pretty funny by default
– Why only Europe?
Style: railway simulation
Release: August 25, 2022 (PC) / September 22 (Console)
Train Life: A Railway Simulator
Gameplay - 5.7
Graphics - 6.8
Story - 5.3
Music/Audio - 6.7
Ambience - 7.5
The PC version is six and a half of ten, and the console version (especially on the 2020 hardware) is a six out of ten. The button layout and Xbox performance make the console port of Train Life: A Railway Simulator a little worse overall, and the matrix effect on the windshield can be very annoying. However, there are plenty of routes and no shortage of challenges, and you do have to be successful in the economic field. For these reasons, it is impossible to give Train Life a low rating. It can be safely recommended to fans of the genre, but in this case, perhaps avoid the PlayStation 4/Xbox One pair. You could do with better performance here. It's a shame that there are a few more lines in the UK beyond Europe, and that's it. In terms of content, hopefully, it will expand.
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